Our association has become more nimble and responsive

Largely as a result of the Futures Initiative launched two years ago, CREA today is a more nimble and responsive association, better tuned to the needs of its members, with a restructured and more efficient governance structure, and more actively engaged than ever in direct communications with its members, the 107,000 REALTORS® members of the Canadian Real Estate Association.

While more than 20 specific recommendations came out of Futures, the most important, in my view, pertain to three specific areas: member communications, governance, and a culture of ongoing review and accountability.


and closest to my heart, we now actually communicate directly with all of our members across the country, to engage them in meaningful two-way dialogue. This is huge.


we heard from our members that they were concerned about our governance structures. We are now restructuring not only the size of our board but also some of the ways in which we make decisions. At our last SGM, and in a process that will continue through this year's AGM in March, by-law changes were approved to make CREA more nimble, more efficient in its decision-making process.

and Third,

we've instituted a persistent new culture where we will regularly be looking at all the different areas within the association and how can we better serve our members by giving them the tools that they need to meet the needs of the consumer.

It can't just be CREA's responsibility, however, to communicate with its members and respond to their concerns. If members want to better understand how their national association is operating, they need to look below the surface. For example, CREA's national consumer advertising campaign costs $7-million annually. Some of our members look at the ads and question them. They'll tell me, "That's not a good ad and I'm not getting business from it." What they're not understanding is that the ads are not for them, they're for consumers, and our consumer research tells us that consumers love them and are responding to them. I always remind my fellow REALTORS®... it's not what we think, but rather what we know.

It's the same with our technology tools. They're an important part of the value CREA delivers to REALTORS® but you could look at how many people we employ in technology and question whether there weren't more cost-effective ways of doing this. However, to cite just one specific area, our technology department manages the single largest real estate website in Canada, one that saw more than 16-million unique visitors last year.

REALTORS® are huge community supporters

One of the things I want to highlight in this annual report is the generosity with which REALTORS® give back to their communities. Last year, we asked REALTORS® to tell us about the contributions they make in their communities and to attach a dollar value to them. With responses back from only a few REALTORS®, I am certain we captured only a very small fraction of the total and yet we were able to track and verify close to $31-million in direct financial contributions by REALTORS® to their communities.

That incredible generosity was exhibited again in the wake of the devastating floods in parts of southern Alberta last year. Within just a few days of launching an appeal through REALTORS Care® that enabled our members to directly donate to that cause, we raised more than $245,000 for the flood victims.